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18th Century Literature: The Rape of the Lock Written by Alexander Pope - Assignment Example

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The author analyzes ‘The Rape of the Lock’ written by Alexander Pope which simply lampoons the fashionable world of the elite class – which against far more serious social issues surrounding Britain during the 18th century – spend their everyday life troubling themselves with trivial matters. …
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18th Century Literature: The Rape of the Lock Written by Alexander Pope
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Download file to see previous pages In fact, its title alone is a testament to the author’s brilliance in employing this literary genre as rape is a serious moral offense that merits the death penalty, yet Pope used it amusingly summing up the mock-heroic character of the poem. Inspired by an actual incident of a battle royal between two British noble families in the 18th century spurred by young Lord Petre’s unauthorised cutting off a lock of hair dangling enticingly from the head of Arabella Fermor, his fiancée, to which she strikes back by breaking off from their wedding engagement and prompted by John Caryll, who convinced the Pope to write a poem that would satirize the asinine cause of the feud, ‘The Rape of the Lock’ although originally written to cool down the feuding families’ blazing tempers by jesting at their own petty squabble had also given Pope the opportunity to prove that he was no mere translator of another poet’s poem, but could be a good writer of a Homeric epic of his own version.5
Initially published anonymously in May 1712 (two Cantos, 334 lines), Pope modified and developed ‘The Rape of the Lock’ (five cantos, 794 lines), and republished it in March 1714 this time under his name.6 And finally in 1717, Pope decided to emphasize the poem’s moral − “a plea for maturity and good sense, for virtue and care of the soul”7 – by adding ‘grave Clarissa’s’ speech (Canto V, 9-34).8
Most literary reviews on ‘The Rape of the Lock’– aside from concurring that this indeed is Pope’s genius9 – generally agreed that the poem is “a humorous indictment of the vanities and idleness of 18th-century high society… underscores the ridiculousness of a society in which values have lost all proportion… that fails to distinguish between things that matter and things that do not.”   ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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